The Life, Death & Corrupting Influence of Sun Myung Moon
SUN MYUNG MOON DIES AT 92; LED CONTROVERSIAL UNIFICATION CHURCH
REV. SUN MYUNG MOON DEAD; UNIFICATION CHURCH FOUNDER DIES AT 92
REV. SUN MYUNG MOON’S 13 CHILDREN WITH WIFE HAK JA HAN MOON SHOW DISCORD
The Life, Death & Corrupting Influence of Sun Myung MoonSep 04
Scroll down to watch several chilling documentaries that detail the corrupting life, bogus teachings, and extraordinary influence of Reverend Sun Myung Moon.
SUN MYUNG MOON DIES AT 92; LED CONTROVERSIAL UNIFICATION CHURCH
By Elaine Woo
Los Angeles Times
September 3, 2012
The Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the self-proclaimed Messiah from South Korea who led the Unification Church, one of the most controversial religious movements to sweep America in the 1970s, has died. He was 92.
Moon, who had been hospitalized with pneumonia in August, died Monday at a hospital in Gapyeong, South Korea, church officials announced.
Although greeted as a Korean Billy Graham when he arrived in the United States four decades ago, Moon gradually emerged as a religious figure with quite different beliefs, whose movement was labeled a cult and whose followers were mocked as “Moonies.” At the height of his popularity, he claimed 5 million members worldwide, a figure that ex-members and other observers have called inflated. Those numbers are believed to have fallen into the thousands today.
Moon offered an unorthodox message that blended calls for world peace with an unusual interpretation of Christianity, strains of Confucianism and a strident anti-communism. He was famous for presiding over mass marriage ceremonies that highlighted Unification’s emphasis on traditional morality.
What also made Moon unusual was a multinational corporate vision that made him a millionaire many times over. He owned vast tracts of land in the U.S. and South America, as well as dozens of enterprises, including a ballet company, a university, a gun manufacturer, a seafood operation and several media organizations, most notably the conservative Washington Times newspaper. He also owned United Press International.
Moon was “the object of more suspicion and enmity than almost any other contemporary religious leader,” Eileen Barker, an authority on the Unification Church and new religions at the London School of Economics, wrote some years ago.
The short, balding immigrant evangelist was not charismatic in the usual sense. He spoke poor English and gave few interviews. His sermons, delivered through interpreters, rambled on for hours and often exhorted followers against using “love organs” in promiscuous behavior or homosexual relationships.
His ideas often seemed bizarre: He believed in numerology, proposed building a highway around the world and for a while embraced a Zimbabwean man as the reincarnation of a son who had died in an accident.
He courted the powerful with surprising success, at one time counting among his friends and allies Christian right leader Jerry Falwell, who defended Moon when he was tried and later convicted in the U.S. on charges of tax evasion; the Nation of Islam’s Louis Farrakhan, who shared pulpits with him; and former President George H.W. Bush, who appeared at Unification Church-affiliated events in the U.S. and abroad.
In 2004, Moon invited guests to a U.S. Senate office building in Washington, where he had himself crowned “none other than humanity’s Savior, Messiah, Returning Lord and True Parent.” The ceremony was attended by a dozen members of Congress, several of whom later told reporters they had been misled about the purpose of the event.
His religious journey purportedly began 16 years after his birth on Jan. 2, 1920, in what is now North Korea. According to biographical accounts, Jesus appeared to the young Moon on a Korean mountaintop on Easter Sunday in 1936. From this meeting Moon divined that his job was to complete Jesus’ mission of creating heaven on Earth.
During high school in Korea and at Waseda College in Tokyo, where he studied electrical engineering, Moon claimed to receive more messages from spiritual figures, including Buddha and Moses. He later said that Buddha told him to seek the unification of world religions “in a common effort to salvage the universe.”
After World War II, Moon founded a church and began preaching full-time, often speaking out against communism. His strong political stands caused problems with the North Korean government, which jailed him on charges of bigamy and draft evasion. He was freed in 1950.
In 1954, he founded the Holy Spirit Assn. for the Unification of World Christianity in Seoul. Three years later he published “The Divine Principle,” the main text of his church.
Unification theology is complex, but a central tenet is to right the wrongs of Adam and Eve. According to the Divine Principle, Satan seduced Eve, who then had illicit relations with Adam and spawned impure children.
Moon regarded Jesus as the second Adam, but Jesus was crucified before he could marry and bring forth sinless progeny. Thus, according to Moon, mankind’s salvation depended on a third savior to appear on Earth and marry a pure woman. Together they would become the “true parents” of mankind and beget pure families to populate the kingdom of God.
The new Christ, Moon prophesied, would be born in Korea.
Moon’s beliefs did not go over well with leaders of mainline Christianity. He was turned down when he applied for membership to the major ecumenical organizations, the National Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches.
“His theology was heretical,” said David Bromley, a Virginia Commonwealth University sociologist who co-authored “Moonies in America,” a major study of the Unification movement during its peak in the 1970s.
Church members addressed Moon and his wife, Hak Ja Han, as the “True Parents,” a title that outraged many of the actual parents of Moon’s followers. The Moons moved to the U.S. in 1971 and eventually lived in a 35-room mansion on an estate in Irvington, N.Y.
Moon’s first marriage, to Choe Sung-kil, ended in divorce in 1957. He had a son with her and another with Kim Myung-hee, who lived with Moon during the 1950s. In 1960 he married Han, then a young disciple. They had 14 children, of whom 10 survive him. He was believed to have more than 40 grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren.
Had Moon restricted his recruiting to ethnic Koreans, he might have avoided criticism, Bromley said. But the church began targeting white middle-class youths on or near college campuses, a tactic also pursued by two other sects that attained notoriety in the 1970s, the Children of God and the Hare Krishnas.
An anti-cult movement rose in opposition to the groups and created a market for “deprogrammers” who abducted church members and tried to reverse the brainwashing they believed was fundamental to the cults’ influence.
Moon promoted interracial and intercultural marriages and arranged thousands of unions. Couples matched by the church were instructed to refrain from having intercourse for 40 days, partly to ensure that the unions were based on “pure love” rather than carnal desire. In one of the church’s most publicized events, Moon blessed 6,500 couples in New York’s Madison Square Garden in 1988.
Followers were expected to live communally under austere conditions, although the church later moved away from group living as members matured and started their own families. Each member also was expected to raise money for the church, often by peddling flowers or other innocuous items at airports and shopping malls.
In 1978 Congress investigated the church as part of a broader probe into Korean influence-buying. A congressional subcommittee concluded that Moon’s organization had violated U.S. tax, immigration, banking and currency laws. In 1982 he was convicted on tax evasion charges and served 11 months in a federal prison in Danbury, Conn.
That year, he launched the Washington Times, which positioned itself as a conservative alternative to the Washington Post. It won loyal readers in the White House and among conservative strategists but has been a chronic money-loser, surviving on more than $2 billion in subsidies from the church. Circulation fell to about 40,000 daily copies in 2010, when a family feud caused the patriarch to repurchase the paper after having given control of it four years earlier to his eldest son, Preston.
REV. SUN MYUNG MOON DEAD; UNIFICATION CHURCH FOUNDER DIES AT 92
By Hyung-Jin Kim
September 2, 2012
The Rev. Sun Myung Moon was a self-proclaimed messiah who built a global business empire. He called both North Korean leaders and American presidents his friends, but spent time in prisons in both countries. His followers around the world cherished him, while his detractors accused him of brainwashing recruits and extracting money from worshippers.
These contradictions did nothing to stop the founder of the Unification Church from turning his religious vision into a worldwide movement and a multibillion-dollar corporation stretching from the Korean Peninsula to the United States.
Moon died Monday at a church-owned hospital near his home in Gapyeong County, northeast of Seoul, two weeks after being hospitalized with pneumonia, Unification Church spokesman Ahn Ho-yeul told The Associated Press. Moon’s wife and children were at his side, Ahn said. He was 92.
The church will hold a 13-day mourning period beginning Monday and start accepting mourners Thursday at a multipurpose gym at its nearby religious center, the church said in a statement. The funeral will be held Sept. 15, and Moon will be buried at nearby Cheonseung Mountain, where his home is located, the statement said.
Moon founded his Bible-based religion in Seoul in 1954, a year after the Korean War ended, saying Jesus Christ personally called on him to complete his work.
The church gained fame — and notoriety — by marrying thousands of followers in mass ceremonies presided over by Moon himself. The couples often came from different countries and had never met, but were matched up by Moon in a bid to build a multicultural religious world.
Today, the Unification Church has 3 million followers, including 100,000 members in the U.S., and has sent missionaries to 194 countries, Ahn said. But ex-members and critics say the figure is actually no more than 100,000 members worldwide.
The church’s holdings include the Washington Times newspaper; the New Yorker Hotel, a midtown Manhattan art deco landmark; and a seafood distribution firm that supplies sushi to Japanese restaurants across the U.S. It gave the University of Bridgeport $110 million over more than a decade to keep the Connecticut school operating.
It acquired a ski resort, a professional football team and other businesses in South Korea. It also operates a foreign-owned luxury hotel in North Korea and jointly operates a fledgling North Korean automaker.
The church has been accused of using devious recruitment tactics and duping followers out of money. Parents of followers in the United States and elsewhere have expressed worries that their children were brainwashed into joining. The church has pointed out that many new religious movements faced similar accusations in their early years. Moon’s followers were often called “Moonies,” a term many found pejorative.
Moon was born in 1920 in a rural part of what is today North Korea. He said he was 16 when Jesus Christ first appeared to him and told him to finish the work he had begun on Earth 2,000 years earlier. Moon, who tried to preach the gospel in the North, was imprisoned there in the late 1940s for alleged spying for South Korea; he disputed the charge.
When the Korean War broke out in 1950, he went to South Korea. After divorcing his first wife, he married Hak Ja Han Moon in 1960.
In South Korea, Moon quickly drew young acolytes to his conservative, family-oriented value system and unusual interpretation of the Bible. He conducted his first mass wedding in Seoul in the early 1960s, and the “blessing ceremonies” grew in scale over the years. A 1982 wedding at New York’s Madison Square Garden — the first outside South Korea — drew thousands of participants.
“International and intercultural marriages are the quickest way to bring about an ideal world of peace,” Moon said in a 2009 autobiography. “People should marry across national and cultural boundaries with people from countries they consider to be their enemies so that the world of peace can come that much more quickly.”
Moon began building a relationship with North Korea in 1991, even meeting with the country’s founder, Kim Il Sung, in the eastern North Korean port city of Hamhung. In his autobiography, Moon said he urged Kim to give up his nuclear ambitions, and that Kim responded by saying that his atomic program was for peaceful purposes and he had no intention to use it to “kill my own people.”
“The two of us were able to communicate well about our shared hobbies of hunting and fishing,” Moon wrote. “At one point, we each felt we had so much to say to the other that we just started talking like old friends meeting after a long separation.”
When Kim died in 1994, Moon sent a condolence delegation to North Korea, drawing criticism from conservatives at home. The late Kim Jong Il, who succeeded his father as North Korean leader, sent roses, prized wild ginseng, Rolex watches and other gifts to Moon on his birthday each year. Moon said Kim Il Sung had instructed Kim Jong Il that “after I die, if there are things to discuss pertaining to North-South relations, you must always seek the advice of President Moon.”
The church also sent a delegation to pay its respects after Kim Jong Il died in December and was succeeded by his son Kim Jong Un.
Moon sought and eventually developed a good relationship with conservative American leaders such as former Presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
Yet he also served 13 months at a U.S. federal prison in the mid-1980s after a New York City jury convicted him of filing false tax returns. The church says the U.S. government persecuted Moon because of his growing influence and popularity with young Americans.
One of the more bizarre chapters in Moon’s relationship with Washington came in 2004, when more than a dozen U.S. lawmakers attended a “coronation ceremony” for Moon and his wife in which Moon declared himself humanity’s savior and said his teachings have helped Hitler and Stalin be “reborn as new persons.” Some of the congressmen later said they had been misled and hadn’t been aware that Moon would be at the event.
In later years, the church adopted a lower profile in the United States and focused on building up its businesses. Moon lived for more than 30 years in the United States, the church said.
As he grew older, Moon also handed over day-to-day control of his empire to his children, but in 2009 he married 45,000 people in simultaneous ceremonies worldwide in his first large-scale mass wedding in years, the church said. Some were newlyweds and others reaffirmed past vows.
Moon married an additional 7,000 couples in South Korea in February 2010. The ceremonies attracted media coverage but little of the controversy that dogged the church in earlier decades.
Moon and Hak Ja Han have 10 surviving sons and daughters, according to the church.
One of Moon’s sons reportedly sued his mother in 2011 demanding the return of more than $22 million allegedly sent without his consent from a company he runs to his mother’s missionary group. Yonhap news agency reported that a court ruled the money was a loan but ordered it returned.
Another son committed suicide in 1999, officials said, plunging to his death from the 17th floor of Harrah’s hotel in downtown Reno, Nevada. Two other sons reportedly died in accidents, one in a car accident and another in a train wreck.
Moon’s U.S.-born youngest son, the Rev. Hyung-jin Moon, was named the church’s top religious director in April 2008. Other children run the church’s businesses and charitable activities in South Korea and abroad.
Hyung-jin Moon told The Associated Press in February 2010 that his father’s offspring do not see themselves as his successors.
“Our role is not inheriting that messianic role,” he said. “Our role is more of the apostles … where we become the bridge between understanding what kind of lives (our) two parents have lived.”
REV. SUN MYUNG MOON’S 13 CHILDREN WITH WIFE HAK JA HAN MOON SHOW DISCORD
By Foster Klug
September 4, 2012
The late Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the Unification Church founder who died this week at 92, had 13 children with his wife, Hak Ja Han Moon. He and his wife are revered by followers as the “True Parents,” but their children have suffered estrangements, deaths, suicide, lawsuits, public bickering, the airing of intimate secrets – and one reality TV show appearance. Here’s a look at some of the more prominent Moon children:
The Moons’ eldest son, born in 1962. Hyo-jin reportedly died of a heart attack in 2008. He was a musician and producer and recorded more than a dozen albums, according to a church-affiliated website. His former wife, Nonsook Hong, claimed he was an alcoholic and drug addict who beat her, including while she was seven months pregnant with their fifth child. He was given huge amounts of cash by his mother which he used to buy cocaine and throw parties, Hong told the U.S. television program “60 Minutes” in 1998. She said she was chosen by the Rev. Moon to marry Hyo-jin when she was 15.
HYUN-JIN PRESTON MOON
Preston, born in 1969, went to Columbia and Harvard Business School and twice competed in the Olympics for the South Korean equestrian team, according to the church-affiliated website. He played a leading role in church business and media interests, including the Washington Times newspaper, but he has also been involved in rifts with his siblings and parents. His company sued his mother’s missionary group in 2011, demanding the return of more than $22 million the company claimed was sent without its consent to her group. A court ruled that the money was a loan but ordered it returned, the church said. Preston is still in charge of a church organization in the United States, Unification Church International, but church officials said they have asked him to leave the job.
HYUNG-JIN SEAN MOON
Harvard-educated Sean, born in New York in 1979, is the Moons’ youngest son and the church head. He practiced Buddhism when younger, shaving his head and wearing monastic robes, and said he turned to the religion after a brother died in what U.S. officials called a suicide. He said he worried about his father’s reaction to the religious decision but the Rev. Moon told followers not to criticize him. He titled a book of his essays “A Bald Head and a Strawberry.” He was chosen to lead the church in 2008. He is more fluent in English than Korean, and many of his English sermons are designed to appeal to a young generation of followers.
KOOK-JIN JUSTIN MOON
Justin, 42, was the last of the children born in South Korea and also went to Harvard, the church website said. He runs the Tongil Group, the church’s business arm, and owns U.S.-based gun manufacturer Kahr Arms.
YEON-JIN KAT MOON
Born in the United States, she is a graduate of New York University in journalism and economics, according to the church-affiliated website. She also briefly appeared on a TV reality show in the U.S., “Survival of the Richest,” in 2006. Press reviews of the first episode reported her fortune as $989 million and said she claimed to suffer from “chronic boredom” – and that she was voted off the show by the other rich kids at the end of the first episode.
The 21-year-old committed suicide in 1999 by jumping from the 17th floor of a hotel in downtown Reno, Nevada, local officials said. He was in Reno visiting the University of Nevada campus and had been considering whether to study hotel management there or at home in Las Vegas, according to church officials interviewed at the time. Young-jin was said to not be heavily involved in the church. A church newsletter said his November 1997 wedding “set the stage for the blessing of 3.6 million couples worldwide.”
The 17-year-old died in early 1984 after the car he was driving collided with a tractor-trailer in New York. At the time of the accident, he was engaged to marry the prima ballerina daughter of Bo Hi Pak, the head of the church’s Korean Cultural Foundation. The wedding, dubbed a “spiritual” marriage, went ahead as planned despite his death, and he was married posthumously to Julia Moon, a prominent figure in South Korea’s arts scene.
Un-jin, another daughter, told “60 Minutes” in 1998 that she was estranged from her parents. When she told her parents that her husband beat her, they responded that she deserved it, she said. She also told the TV program that she knew Moon had at least one illegitimate son.
Sung-jin was born in 1946, the child of the Rev. Moon and his first wife Choi Sun-kil. He now lives in Japan, according to church officials and a church defector, Lee Young-sun.
60 Minutes Expose’ of Sun Myung Moon (1998)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ne0GPf4TnGw
The King of America (2009)
Related Link: Hail to the Moon King (Salon)
BBC Documentary: Reverend Sun Myung Moon:Emperor Of the Universe (2000)
The Resurrection of Reverend Moon (1992)
Frontline investigates the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, who after serving 13 months in prison in the early 1980s for conspiracy and false tax returns, has reemerged as a major media, financial, and political power in the new conservative establishment. The program explores Moon’s long involvement with US political causes and politicians and the foreign sources of funding for Moon’s Unification Church.